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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles: Visas and residence permits : Visas

EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Washington, D.C.
CONSULATES GENERAL OF FINLAND, New York and Los Angeles

  • Embassy of Finland, Washington
    Tel. +1-202-298 5800, sanomat.was@formin.fi
  • Consulate General of Finland, New York
    Tel. +1-212-750 4400, sanomat.nyc@formin.fi
  • Consulate General of Finland, Los Angeles
    Tel. +1-310-203 9903, sanomat.los@formin.fi
  • Contacts
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Visa

Finland has outsourced the submission of the Schengen visa applications to VFS Global on April 5, 2018.

Please visit VFS Global web page. An appointment is mandatory.

What is Schengen area and Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary stay for less than 90 days within a 180-day period. A Schengen visa issued by one of the Schengen countries allows a person to travel within the whole Schengen area. Applying for a visa does not guarantee issuance. A visa issued by a Schengen country permits free movement within the Schengen area, unless otherwise stated on the visa sticker. A visa does not provide an automatic right to entry and thus visa holders are requested to present proof that they meet the entry requirements at the external border.

Schengen member states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Great Britain, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania have not signed the Schengen contract.

Visa Code (810/2009/EC) is applied in all Schengen countries when processing Schengen visas. The visa code is a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council.

Who needs a visa to Finland?

US citizens do not need to obtain a visa if they stay in Finland for less than 90 days within a 180-day period but their passport shall be valid for a minimum of three months after the journey. When staying in Finland for a longer period of time, a residence permit which is issued by the Finnish Immigration Service is required (see Residence permits).

If you are a foreign national requiring a visa, you must have one when entering the Schengen area. If you would normally need a visa but have a valid residence permit in one of the Schengen countries, you do not need a visa to enter another Schengen country.

Please check if you need a visa to enter the Schengen area and which travel documents are accepted by Finland:

Where and how can I leave the application?

Schengen countries began to collect fingerprints from visa customers at all missions in North America on the 15th of May 2014. A Schengen visa has to be applied for in person.

If the main destination is Finland, a visa must be applied for from a VSF Global Application Centre representing Finland. An appointment is required, please visit the VFS Global web page. If the visit includes more than one destination, a visa is applied for from the country that is the main destination of the journey (length of the stay or the purpose). If no main destination can be determined, a visa is applied for the country of the first entry.

You can apply for the visa from VFS Global Application Centres in Washington, D.C., Houston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Los Angeles Centre will open in August 2018. Until then the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles will accept visa applications in its jurisdiction. Honorary consulates do not process visas.

Jurisdictions for visa processing in the USA:

  • The Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles if the applicant resides in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, NM, NV, MT, OR, UT, WA, WY.
     
  • The Consulate General of New York if the applicant resides in AL, AR, CT,  D.C., DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV, WI.
     

Customer service for visas and residence permits

Customer service is by appointment only. Customer service hours and contact information located below.

Full instructions and appointment reservations for Schengen visa applicants on VFS Global Finland and for study or work-based residence permit applicants and their family members on VFS Global Finland.

The Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C and the Consulate General of Finland in New York will continue to take in other residence permit applicants in their jurisdiction.

The Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles will continue to take in Schengen visa and residence permit applicants in its jurisdiction until August 2018. Contact details for the Consulate General in Los Angeles:

Appointments to the Consulate General must be reserved via online appointment reservation system. Please note, that the link only works with Internet Explorer and Safari. If you have technical issues related to online appointment reservation system please contact VFS Helpline: info.fin.usa@vfshelpline.com, +1 212 203 0023.
Customer service by appointment only Mon–Thu 9.00 am–12.00 pm
Telephone inquiries: Mon–Thu 1.00 pm–2.00 pm Tel: +1-310-203 9903
E-mail: visa.los@formin.fi

Please contact VFS Global with Schengen visa and residence permit related inquiries.
+1-212-203-0023
info.fin.usa@vfshelpline.com
(Schengen visas)
info.finres.usa@vfshelpline.com (Residence permits)
 

How long does the visa processing take?

It is advisable to apply for a visa well in advance of the planned date of travel. The application can be submitted a maximum of 3 months ahead of the trip. The processing time for a visa is usually 15 days, 10 days for the nationals from the visa facilitation agreement countries. In some cases the processing time may take up to 60 days. The applications are processed in the order of arrival. Expedited requests cannot be taken into consideration, for example, in the case of flight tickets bought in advance.

What supporting documents do I need?

The required supporting documents are imposed in the Visa Code and agreed upon in the local Schengen cooperation and might vary in different countries. Incomplete documents may have a negative effect on the decision. Supporting documents are not returned. Applicants may be required to submit additional documents and applicant may be called for a separate interview.

The visa application can be downloaded, filled out electronically and printed from the link below.

Visa application: PLEASE NOTICE THAT THIS VISA APPLICATION IS AVAILABLE ONLY FOR THE CONSULATE SUBMISSION

pdfSchengen visa EC109 2010 (en)  (PDF)

pdfVisa application required documents

Tourist trip or private trip; required documents in this order

Applicants applying for a multiple entry visa must acquire insurance for the duration of the first trip and sign the section on the last page of the application form: “Applicable in case a multiple entry visa is applied for. I am aware of the need to have an adequate travel medical insurance for my first stay and subsequent visits to the territory of Member States”.

Business trip; required documents

  • In addition to above mentioned supporting documents:
    • Reference letter from the employer (original on official paper with contact information).
    • Invitation letter from a Finnish company, specifying the nature of the business (must be either original letter written down on official paper including contact information or sent by a recognizable e-mail address).

Family member of an EU, ETA and Swiss citizen or Finnish citizen, who applies of a directive 2004/38/EY of free movement

If all the below mentioned conditions (1-3) are not fulfilled, the visa application will be processed normally as a “tourist or private visit” application.

Please note, a family member of a Finnish citizen shall normally apply visa in a normal procedure as the item 1 is applicable only occasionally for a Finnish citizen (a Finnish citizen travels normally to Finland = the country of citizenship).

  1. Citizen of Union uses the right of free movement = travels to a country which is not citizen´s country of citizenship nor country of residence inside EU area  
  2. The journey of an applicant and the citizen of Union is common and related (= an applicant travels with a union citizen or follows the citizen later)
  3. The applicant is a family member  

a) An applicant is a family member of an EU, ETA or Swiss citizen (eg. marriage or birth certificate):                                                 

  • spouse, partner (registered relationship), cohabiting partner (living together minimum 2 years or having a child under joint custody), under 21 year old child to union citizen or spouse, parents dependent on a union citizen or spouse or other relative who lives in the same household or needs personal care.

b) An applicant is a family member of a Finnish citizen (Alien Act 37§) and family relation is registered in Finnish population register:    

  • spouse, partner (registered relationship), cohabiting partner (living together minimum 2 years or having a child under joint custody), under 18 years old child or a guardian of a child under 18 years of age.

If all the above mentioned conditions (1-3) are fulfilled, only the following documents are required:

  • Visa application, signature and date must be written in two sections: 36 and 37. The items of the application form marked by star are not mandatory.
  • Photo; one color and max. 6 months old photo. Fulfilling standards of ICAO (light background and neutral face expression).
  • Passport + copy, or other travel document accepted in every Schengen country. Passport requirements: validity minimum 3 months after the journey, issued within previous 10 years and contain at least 2 blank pages.
  • Copy of the Green Card or US visa, which must be valid minimum of 3 months after the journey. 
  • Documentation of items 1-3:
       - Proof of nationality of EU citizen (e.g. copy of passport)
       - Proof of being a family member (e.g. marriage or birth certificate)
       - Proof of common journey (e.g. flight reservation)
  • Travel insurance is not required.
  • Visa fee is not collected.

What types of visas are there?

A single-entry visa
is issued for one journey during which you can stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.

A double-entry visa
allows entry to the Schengen area twice for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.

Multiple-entry visa
is granted for several visits to the Schengen area. The total duration of the stay is the number of days stated on the visa, however being a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.

Airport transit visas
are needed by citizens of certain countries when they are transferring flights between the international parts of the airports without entering the country in question.

How much does a visa application cost and where can I pay it?

The visa fee may vary monthly due to currency exchanges. Please check out the updated service fees. Service fees also include exceptions (children and applicant from visa facilitation agreement countries and free visas). In case of refusal, the visa fee is not returned.

If the visa was refused, can I complain about the decision?

In case the conditions for granting a visa are not fulfilled, the visa will be refused. The grounds for a refused visa are informed in writing in common form of Schengen countries according to the Visa Code. Additional explanations are not given.

A visa applicant may request a rectification from the decision making authority in Finnish or Swedish within thirty (30) days from the date the decision was informed to the applicant (instructions for a rectification are attached on the visa refusal). Google translations cannot be accepted. An applicant may submit an appeal against the rectification of the decision to the Helsinki administrative court. An applicant who is covered by Directive 2004/38/EC of the right of free movement and is entitled to lodge an appeal directly with the Helsinki Administrative Court (instructions for a complaint are attached on the visa refusal).

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Updated 7/3/2018


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